A beautiful green sauce with a bold flavour!
This sauce is also packed with plants.... more than you would get in any regular basil pasta sauce! With the addition of mushrooms, spinach and even baby marrows, you are pushing up the plant count of the dish! Anything to get more plant variety onto your plate.
It is absolutely delicious when served with a legume pasta for extra plant protein, or if you are feeling very creative... why not try making sweet potato/ spinach gnocchi. All you need are some sweet potatoes, flour, salt ... and a bit of time! (See here for some inspiration for a simple gnocchi recipe)!
Serving size: Serves 3 - 4 (makes around 2 cups)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 punnet (250g) mushrooms, finely chopped
400g baby spinach leaves
2 punnets or 60g fresh basil leaves
2 heaped Tbsp (60g) basil pesto
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt, Black Pepper, Chili, Lemon Juice (optional)
Optional: 3 - 4 baby marrows, finely grated
Sauté the chopped onion for 5 minutes or until clear and they have started to caramelize (note: add splashes of water; no oil is needed). Add the chopped mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 5minutes. (Optional: add in grated baby marrow)
Meanwhile, steam or blanch the spinach for 1 - 2minutes (or until semi - cooked). Add to a blender to make a smooth purée. Optional: I used half of the spinach purée for my homemade sweet potato gnocchi. Add the rest of the blended spinach to the onion and mushroom mix. Heat through.
Blend the basil leaves, basil pesto, 50-100ml water, nutritional yeast and seasoning to make a smooth paste. Add the paste to the onion and mushroom mix. Heat through and flavour with additional salt and black pepper, or even a hint of chilli!
Serve with gnocchi, pasta or any other wholegrain. Top with roasted baby tomatoes! Delish!
Low Fat: This recipe calls for no additional fat besides the fat coming from the basil pesto (i.e. nuts/oil/cheese). A serving of basil pesto is approximately 2 tsp/ 1 level Tbsp (for one fat serving). One does not need to use oil when you sauté the onion... just use splashes of water to prevent the onions from sticking to the pan.
Nutritional Yeast: This is a species of fungi, which are deactivated (i.e. dead) and can be used as a flavour additive to meals as well as a protein booster. Many vegans or plant-based eaters use it to give their dishes a 'cheesy flavour'. Nutritional yeast is also a source of plant protein providing around 4 - 5g protein per tablespoon. Add it to pasta sauces, sprinkle it over stir-fried vegetables or mix it in vegetable soup.